Virginia Tech’s Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation and the College of Natural Resources and Environment’s Leadership Institute presented alumnus Robert J. “Bob” Warren with the Gerald H. Cross Alumni Leadership Award.
Warren, professor of wildlife ecology and management at the University of Georgia, received both his master’s and doctorate in wildlife sciences from Virginia Tech after earning his bachelor’s at Oklahoma State University.
While serving as a teaching assistant during graduate school, he realized the rewards of teaching, which led him to a career as a university educator. His first faculty position was at Texas Tech University from 1979 to 1983.
Warren has served on the faculty of the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources since 1983 and was named a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor in 1999. He is a past-president of The Wildlife Society and was honored with the society’s 2014 Aldo Leopold Memorial Award, the highest honor for service to the wildlife profession, as well as its 2013 Excellence in Wildlife Education Award.
“Receiving the Cross Leadership Award is especially meaningful to me,” Warren said. “I was very fortunate to attend graduate school at Virginia Tech because it provided the foundation for my successful career in academia and the wildlife profession. Not only did I receive an exceptional education in wildlife science, but the faculty and my fellow graduate students served as role models and mentors who inspired me to achieve my fullest potential as a wildlife biologist.”
Warren’s research interests include the ecology and management of wildlife populations, especially in parks and urban/suburban areas; predator ecology and management; wildlife damage management; and wildlife physiology, nutrition, and genetics. He has received nearly $4 million in contracts or awards from state and federal agencies or private organizations to support his research and professional work.
In addition to his prolific published research and teaching efforts at the University of Georgia, including directing 64 master’s and doctoral students, Warren has served on the external academic reviews for eight other university natural resources programs in the United States.
Virginia Tech Professor Emeritus Gerald H. Cross served as the head of what was then called the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences from 1976 to 1989. He significantly built up the department during his tenure, increasing the number of faculty members three-fold.
“Dr. Cross recognized early on that the strong technical skills that helped natural resource professionals move up in their organizations must be accompanied by leadership skills if they were to succeed at higher levels,” said Associate Professor Steve McMullin, who heads the college’s Leadership Institute, a two-semester program for select undergraduate students.
Cross created a continuing education program focusing on leadership development for Forest Service professionals. Approximately 1,000 natural resource professionals have participated in the program since 1988. The leadership that Cross demonstrated inspired the creation of his namesake award, whose recipients are recognized for their dedication and outstanding achievements in leading others.
“The Leadership Institute students selected Dr. Warren for the 2015 Gerald H. Cross Alumni Leadership Award after a rigorous process of reviewing the credentials of candidates and conducting interviews of finalists,” McMullin said. “His outstanding career as an educator and leader in wildlife conservation made his selection for the award an easy choice. The Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation is proud to list Dr. Warren among its distinguished alumni.”